Chief Steven Sund of the Capitol Police is stepping down following Wednesday’s debacle at the nation’s Capitol. Sund’s resignation is effective January 16. At the request of current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper Micahel Stenger is also stepping down, effective immediately.
“Deputy Sergeant at Arms Jennifer Hemingway will now serve the Senate as Acting Sergeant at Arms, pursuant to statute,” McConnell said in a statement. “I thank Jennifer in advance for her service as we begin to examine the serious failures that transpired yesterday and continue and strengthen our preparations for a safe and successful inauguration on January 20th.”
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle called for Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to resign after a large crowd of Trump supporters gathered in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday and a contingent of demonstrators breached the U.S. Capitol. Congressional offices were ransacked and rioters made their way onto the House floor.
Officers are “frustrated and demoralized” with how a lack of leadership undermined the response to the mob, according to a statement from Gus Papathanasiou, the union chairman. Papathanasiou laid the blame on a failure and planning while praising officers for their work.
“We prioritized lives over property, leading people to safety,” the statement said. “Not one Member of Congress or their staff was injured. Our officers did their jobs. Our leadership did not. Our Law Enforcement partners that assisted us were remarkable.”
The statement fell just short of calling for the force’s chief, Steven Sund, to resign. Sund commended officers earlier Thursday, calling their actions “heroic” and slammed the chaos that erupted as “criminal riotous behavior.”
The Associated Press reported that Capitol Police turned down an offer from the Pentagon to receive help from the National Guard in preparation for the planned event. Despite heightened tensions over a contentious election and Antifa’s history of counterprotests, the Capitol Police planned only for a free speech demonstration.
Back in June, Democrats and the media sharply criticized law enforcement over the response to angry rioters who gathered outside the White House and set fire to historic St. John’s Episcopal Church. The AP reports that officials were determined to avoid any appearance of the federal government deploying active duty or National Guard troops against Americans following the incident. The media’s recognition of violence at left-wing events versus right-wing events is night and day.
As protesters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, one Trump supporter was shot and killed by Capitol Police. A Utah man known for organizing violent Antifa and BLM protests was spotted standing near the gunned down woman. Footage also shows Trump supporters attempting to stop individuals in the crowd from breaking into the Capitol.
This post has been updated with additional details.